Packing properly for overseas travel doesn’t come naturally, at least not to most of us. I’ve had my fair share of packing for overseas travel so all these packing tips below are the result of learned mistakes from all of my countless packing fails.
How and what to pack for your overseas trip isn’t obvious, either. But with this list of packing tips for overseas travel, you’ll find yourself less stressed and more prepared for the trip ahead!
Packing Tips for Overseas Travel
ROLL, DON’T FOLD
One of the first packing tips I learned was to roll my clothes instead of neatly folding them. At first I thought it wouldn’t make any sense, but in fact, it’s the best way to pack! Rolling your clothes instead of folding them results in a much more spacious suitcase. Your clothes will also turn out less wrinkled than if you were to fold them.
MAKE USE OF TINY SPACES
When you are packing, make the most of the space that you’ve got. If you are packing shoes, for example, roll up your socks and stuff them in there. Stuffing your socks in your shoes saves up tons of space for other things, like even another pair of shoes. Also, if I have other things that are breakable (and small) I will usually stuff it in a sock and then put it in the shoe to make sure it doesn’t get thrown around at any point during the trip. The same goes for small things (like a small jewelry case or money) that I do not want to get lost in the midst of my suitcase. Trust me, it saves you from panicking trying to remember where you put that $50.
DON’T TALK YOURSELF INTO OVERPACKING
It’s a trap! I’ve done it myself countless times. You are reasonably packing items you’ll need for your overseas trip. You think you’re doing a great job, but then you just happen to glance over at that super cute dress (or for men your snazzy button-up shirt) hanging in your closet. You think, “Oh, maybe I will need that. Nah…….well on second thought, what if there is a nice gala going on and I get invited and have nothing to wear?? Then I’ll be thinking ‘Dang it, I knew I should’ve packed that dress'” (or whatever). Noooo! Don’t fall for this trap.
A handy trick to avoid overpacking is to lay out everything (clothes-wise) you think you will need. Did you do it? Okay now divide it all in half. Boom. It’s hard, but you will get through it and you will thank yourself (and me) for it later.
TAKE MULTI-USE CLOTHES
This may seem obvious, but a lot of people make the mistake of packing a “one-time or one-occasion” outfit. Unless you already know that you have a fancy dinner to attend while overseas, most of your clothes should be ones that you can reuse in different ways. A good example of this would be taking a shawl that you can convert into a skirt, shirt, cover-up, dress, or whatever you like as long as you’re a little creative. 🙂 This rule of thumb is especially destined for backpackers. Take only one or two of something (jeans, shorts, tank-tops, etc.) rather than 4 or 5. When it comes down to it, you really just don’t need all the colors of the rainbow in your suitcase!
THE SMALLER THE BETTER (AND CUTER)
When packing toiletries, it is simply just not efficient to pack a full bottle of shampoo and conditioner.
Keep in mind that wherever you go in the world there most likely will be shops where you can buy all the necessities like body wash, toothpaste, etc (if you ever run out), so no worries there!
Transfer your liquids into miniature travel bottles. And then pack in a Ziploc bag and suck all the air out before packing. If you’re really tight on space, just go ahead and invest in a travel sized toothbrush and toothpaste, too. Personally when I’m expecting long travel times I will pack my mini toothbrush with me in my carry-on for easy access. A fresh mouth is a happy face 🙂
BE CREATIVE WITH WHAT YOU ALREADY HAVE
There are so many different ways to pack your toiletries and reuse empty bottles/containers to pack your most needed items. For example, for the ladies, you can reuse an old contact case to put liquid concealer or foundation or using an empty tic tac case to put in hairpins. Neat, right? Check out this list for 15 snazzy, creative ideas for your toiletry bag.
SMART TIPS FOR CARRYING-ON TOILETRIES
It happens to people time and time again. They bring their favorite lotion (or whatever) but it’s more than 3.4 ounces. Say goodbye because it’s getting tossed out when you go through security. This happened to me once with a contact solution bottle. Like what was I going to replace contact solution with? Vodka?? That’s the way the security lady looked at me anyways.
Carry-on liquid items should not be larger than 3.4 oz, and though I think this is a universal travel rule, some airlines are more strict than others so just check with your air company before packing to be sure.
Always put your carry-on items in a Ziploc bag. Actually just put any liquids in a Ziploc bag (carry-on or in suitcase). Also, don’t fill up your containers to the brim. Fill them up about 3/4 of the way and squeeze the air out if you can. You don’t want anything exploding!
And last but not least, always have them conveniently located in your bag for easy accessibility because you WILL be taking it out and putting it in a separate bin. Otherwise you will be taking out all of your bag’s contents before finally getting to that darn bag and the people behind you will be panicking and sliding your stuff on the conveyor belt when your not ready…or does that just happen to me..? ^^ Read more about airline packing rules for overseas travel.
KEEP ‘EM WITH YOU IN YOUR CARRY-ON
If you have a tablet, laptop, camera, ipod, etc., then definitely keep those with you at all times. When it comes to your valuables (passport, tickets, money, cards, electronics) always keep them with you. You always hear of people getting their stuff stolen from their checked bags and yet you still think it will never happen to you, at least until the day it unfortunately does. If it means saving you tons of money and stress, keeping your laptop with you (and thus the extra 2 pounds) will be well worth your time.
ROLL UP THE CORDS
It can be a hassle to pack all your electronics chargers, cords, and everything else, but if you roll them in a nice circle and use a little bread twist to seal the deal then those nicely wrapped cords can fit anywhere either in your checked bag or your carry-on. If you need to charge your electronics during transit, layovers, etc., then maybe stowing them in your carry-on is the best option. Otherwise, if you’re like me and you sleep during your flight then you can also just stuff your cords in a shoe and be hassle-free until you arrive at your destination!
An alternative to bringing your chargers is just to invest in an external wireless battery pack. The mini portable charger is actually one of my recommended items in my article best travel accessories for backpackers.
THINK TO THE FUTURE
Just an extra little tip – think ahead when packing your electronics. Will you need an adapter? If so, what kind? Where can I buy one?
It’s good to just be a little prepared, right? Imagine if you had an emergency and need to use your electronics but they have no more battery, and then you go to charge them in a nearby café only to find out it’s not the right type of outlet *gasps*! I’m sure this has happened to some people… So be prepared! But not to fret too much, you can easily find adapters during your overseas stay, just in case you forgot.
Hope you learned a little something from this article on packing tips for overseas travel! Do you have any unique ways of packing items for your overseas trip? I’m sure this post will be updated in the future as I’ll inevitably make a packing fail and want to add to this list, also feel free to add to it!